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Insider Ties: Why Is Under Armour’s Biggest Olympic Star Wearing Nike?

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There is a long history of Olympics marketing wars. Starting in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics which were sponsored by Converse, although at the time Reebok was dominating the game and Nike was in the midst of a series of problems that led to a number of layoffs over the next few years, the conflict in Olympic branding began in 1984. Nike had to make a splash. This was after their golden child had died prior to the Moscow Olympics in Steve Prefontaine and this is before Jordan became Jordan. Nike did have the top Olympians under their Athletics West Banner, but Converse was able to buy the rights to the greatest Olympics in history. The funny thing is no one remembers this. No one remembers that Converse was the sponsor!

Why? Because Nike hooked up with Wieden and Kennedy and they posted Nike’s athletes in murals throughout the city. “Instead, Nike embarked on a campaign of “ambush marketing” that is still studied in the nation’s MBA programs. The company commissioned giant murals of Benoit and other Nike athletes, which appeared on prominent locations close to Olympic venues. Before and during the Games, a Nike TV commercial aired with Randy Newman singing “I Love L.A.” Together with the success of its marquee athletes–e.g., Benoit and Carl Lewis, who sprinted and jumped in specially designed, swoosh-emblazoned spikes-the strategy delivered Nike a corporate gold medal. Its sales jumped 30 percent in Southern California following the Games. Many area residents and visitors thought Nike, notConverse, had officially sponsored the Olympics.”

BBvKQyEWith this as the groundwork and the current discussion on Nike’s Stock not increasing during the last two Olympics, the Michael Phelps on Sports Illustrated is the latest issue. Click the source link for more on that. What I’m amazed by is the amount of money this one picture is worth to Nike who didn’t pay a dime for the exposure. The article states that this was a 400,000 dollar bump for Nike in marketing. That’s amazing. Considering Phelps was wearing the uniform for the Olympics, marketing people are stating that he could have done something prior to taking the picture to cover up the logo. Look at Simone, a Nike Athlete. She is clearly positioning her hand over the Under Armour logo on the teams Olympic uniform.

Marketing is king and don’t you forget it. Click the links to read more about this.